Summary: What does the Bible tell us about gratitude, thanks, and praise to God?
I heard a story…
A priest, a minister, and a rabbi want to see who’s best at his job.
So they each
go into the woods, find a bear, and attempt to convert it.
Later they get together.
The priest begins: “When I found the bear,
I read to him from the Catechism
sprinkled him with holy water.
and next week is his first communion.”
The minister says “I found a bear by the stream, and
preached God’s holy word.
The bear was so convicted that he let me baptize him.”
They both look down at the rabbi, who is lying on a hospital bed in a body cast.
“Looking back,” the rabbi says, “maybe I shouldn't have started with the circumcision.”
Look at Psalm 48, starting verse 12…
The psalm writer starts this Psalm talking about how
kings gathered together to attack Jerusalem,
but God intervened,
and God saved and protected his people,
and then it says this in verse 12…
Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers, consider well her ramparts, view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation. For this God is our God forever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.
Notice he starts…
Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers
This is a picture of someone who’s just been through a battle,
and the enemy has come against them,
and it looked really bad,
but they’re still standing,
God has protected them and brought 'em through it.
So you walk about
and you kind of take inventory,
you count the towers and say,
hey they’re all still there,
even after this huge battle.
God, you were with me,
it looked like I was going down,
it looked like the end,
it looked like I was finished,
it looked like there was no way out,
but you were with me,
and brought me through it.
How many of you have a story like that in your life,
where you were going through some deep stuff,
and it looked bad,
and it looked like you were at the end of your rope,
and you wouldn’t even be here today,
if it wasn’t for the grace of God,
Are there any grateful people here today,
who can count some blessings in your life,
and you’re grateful that God brought you through it.
Let me tell you,
I’m grateful for all God has done in us,
and all that he’s done for us,
the miracles, and the difficulties,
the times of blessing and the hard times,
I’m grateful for all of it,
and like this scripture says,
I want to tell it to the next generation,
because God was with us, every step of the way.
So we’re going to talk about gratitude today,
and I’m going to start with a few scriptures,
just as a foundation for what comes next.
I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.
This will please the Lord more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hooves.
What pleases God more…?
When we praise God and glorify him by giving thanks.
Gratitude is important to God,
so it needs to be important to us.
God says, it’s more important to me
that you’re thankful,
that your heart is appreciative of who I am and what I’ve done,
that’s more important to me
than oxen and bulls and sacrifices,
that’s more important to me
than acting religious and doing your religious duty.
It says, This will please God more.
You see, God is attracted to grateful people.
God will show up in the situations of people
who are grateful and praise God
in the middle of that situation,
even when the situation looks
dark and dysfunctional.
When you praise and thank God,
in the middle of your problem,
before you see any kind of answer,
that is a step of faith, and that step
will bring God’s power into your situation.
The Bible says in Psalms 22:3
that God inhabits the praises of His people
(or in another translation,
he’s enthroned on the praises of his people.
In other words,
there’s a sense in which our praise attracts God,
and brings God’s power into our situation.
Lets look at a story in the bible where that happened.
In Acts chapter 16, it tells how…
one time Paul and Silas were severely beaten,
then thrown into prison,
with their feet and hands chained into stocks,
it was a horrible painful situation,
so what did they do?
They started singing praises to God,
And in Acts 16:25 it says
Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening.
Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off!